It can be difficult to put together an exercise plan that is enjoyable, suitable for your life, and that works for the long term. There are many different types of activities, as well as equipment, accessories and opinions on what's best for each case - things that can make the process even more complicated. What's more, over time, you may end up getting bored or fed up with the plan you're following. To avoid this, just make good planning and follow some tips to make your workout fun, dynamic and long lasting.
Part 1 of 2: Building Your Exercise Plan
Step 1. Write your goal down on paper
Having a clear and specific notion of this goal is very helpful for anyone who wants to set up and follow a good exercise plan. This strategy can help you tailor activities to your needs.
- Think about why you want to train: lose weight? Toning your muscles? Get more active in general?
- Write down your goals clearly, specifically, and conveniently to make them more realistic. For example, instead of saying "I want to train every week," say "I want to run for 35 minutes three times a week and do two 20-minute strength training sessions."
- Putting together a simple workout will be easier if you have a clear sense of your goals and what you want to get out of each workout.
Step 2. Set a schedule
It will be difficult to fit an exercise plan into your routine without a specific part of the day that is free. Before you begin, outline your plan for the week so that you have more control over your performance.
- Write down the training plan for the week on paper. Include each exercise session you plan to perform, as well as times, location and other details.
- Having that broader sense of the week can also help you see whether or not you're hitting your goal of 150 minutes of aerobic exercise or 40 minutes of strength training-and show you if you need to make adjustments.
- Also, it will be easier to stick to your exercise sessions if you schedule them as appointments on your weekly schedule.
- Here are some examples of simple exercises for the week: taking a ten-minute walk three to five times a week, plus two strength training sessions at home, or running for 45 minutes three to five times a week, plus a bout of strength training. strength training at the gym for 60 minutes or take two weekly 60-minute kickboxing classes plus a 60-minute spinning class and two weekly weight training sessions.
Step 3. Choose between exercising at home or at a gym
After detailing your goals and reviewing your schedule, think about where you will exercise. Prefer to go to a gym or stay at home?
- The gym has several benefits: access to cardio machines, weight equipment and dumbbells, and group classes. Some also have a swimming pool or offer discounted individual coaching.
- However, these sites charge monthly fees. If you feel that you shouldn't join a gym or that you wouldn't be comfortable going to a place like this, do the exercises at home or in the area where you live.
- You can practice numerous exercises at home or in the neighborhood: if the place is safe, you can walk or run; if you prefer, you can watch video classes over the internet.
- If you don't have a lot of time to spare, it might be better to train at home.
Step 4. Include aerobic and strength exercises in your weekly routine
Even if you prefer something simpler, it's still important to do both of these activities, as they have health benefits and can bring you closer to some of your goals.
- Aerobic exercises are those that speed up your heart rate or breathing. They can reduce the risk of problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure and strokes, improve your mood and sleep cycle, and make it easier to maintain a healthy weight.
- Any exercise that makes you sweat a little can be considered aerobic: dancing, swimming, hiking, walking, riding a stationary bike, treadmill, elliptical, and so on. Try to make 150 minutes a week of one of these options.
- Strength training brings different benefits, such as improving bone density, reducing the risk of osteoporosis and gaining lean muscle mass. Do 40 minutes a week of activities like weight lifting, strength and resistance training, etc.
Step 5. Test to see what is ideal
Once you've written down your goals, decided where you're going to do the activities, and understand that you need to include aerobic and strength exercises, you should experiment with different options to see what works best for you.
- Set aside a week or two to try different exercises at different times and places to get a realistic sense of your performance.
- Wake up 30 minutes early and go for a walk or jog close to home. If that doesn't work, walk for 30 minutes at lunch or head straight to the gym after work.
- Try different types of exercises. If you don't like running indoors, go outdoors. Use all the aerobic machines you can and sign up for group classes.
Part 2 of 2: Staying Motivated with Exercise
Step 1. Go train with someone
Whether with friends or family who are already close or with new people who frequent the same gym, having this "partnership" can get you excited for training.
- Training with other people is a great way to socialize and have fun at the same time.
- Join group classes or invite friends, family or co-workers for quick training sessions.
Step 2. Have a dynamic routine
Boredom is one of the main reasons people drop out of their regular workouts, as practicing the same exercises day after day can get boring.
- Mix up the types of exercises you do. Your training doesn't always have to include running; add different types of aerobics that look interesting. Even playing video games that encourage physical work can be ideal!
- Also try changing where you do the exercises. Going to the gym is great when the weather is cold or rainy, but hiking on a sunny day is just as interesting.
Step 3. Make your training session fun
If you're not enjoying the exercise, you may end up giving up on it.
- There are lots of interesting and fun activities that have the same benefits as exercise. Think of some non-traditional ways that still get your body going. For example: on the weekend, go to the nearest dam to go hiking or canoeing.
- Sports are also exercises. You can play football, basketball or volleyball - hopefully even get a spot on a local team.
Step 4. Reward yourself when you hit or stick to your goals
This can keep you motivated.
- Think of things you find interesting: buying a new workout shirt, adding tracks to your workout playlist, or putting on a new pair of running shoes, for example.
- Also consider internal rewards. After doing the exercises, think about how you feel and the benefits they can bring to your health.
- Always consult a physician before adhering to a new workout plan to find out if it is right or safe for you.
- If you experience any pain, discomfort, or difficulty breathing during exercise, stop immediately and seek medical attention.